Open X is one of Asper-HUJI Innovate’s pre-accelerator programs, helping teams develop a technology- or research-based product. The program provides tools and skills for transforming an idea into a minimum viable product (MVP).
The first cohort began the program in the spring of 2020 – just as Coronavirus shut down campuses and restricted mobility. Luckily, the program’s staff was able to adapt and adjust the program to digital learning platforms.
Muly Gelman, Guy Magal, and Ori Zifroni are one such group. Recent graduates, their backgrounds span computer science, design, law, advertising, the humanities, and strategizing. Upon entering the workforce, the three discovered a lack of employee growth and coaching processes at their respective workplaces. Guy says: “All three of us have a growth mindset. We’re lifelong learners. Podcast freaks.”
Ori adds: “From the perspective of career building and personal growth, our generation will have to constantly adapt and learn new skills, given our ever-changing and fast-moving world. Organizations and individuals will both adopt lifelong learning as a way to deal with future challenges.”
Guy, Ori, and Muly had been tossing around startup ideas and settled on a platform for organizational development and learning. Their mission is to help organizations unlock and scale up their inner growth learning and coaching capabilities.
"There’s so much organizational knowledge that gets stuck in the pipeline, due to the inability to share experiences, and that’s a pity. Organizations get less from their employees, and employees turn to alternative solutions to develop their skills outside the workplace."
Muly adds: “The current era has accelerated our understanding that an easier and faster connection between employees can benefit the organization, not only as a means of communication, but also for learning and career development processes.”
When Muly saw Open X advertised on a Hebrew University website, he knew they had to apply. They fleshed out their idea, identified opportunities and challenges, developed a rudimentary plan, and were accepted.
In Muly’s opinion, the most important part of the program is feedback from the staff, mentors, and other participants. “It’s one thing to have an idea, but an entirely different thing to convince others that your idea is viable. We’re becoming entrepreneurs – learning the jargon, the skills, the market.”
Interestingly, they feel that the Coronavirus has only increased their networking opportunities. With so many people working from home, they’re able to video call with executives more easily, even if kids occasionally pop into the frame.
"We're passionate about bringing our initiative to fruition. The Hebrew University is providing us with excellent support, enabling us to create something on our own – entirely from scratch."
The program is scheduled to conclude with a demo day, in which teams present their product to local industry leaders, university representatives, and investors. Ori, Guy, and Muly continue to work hard, hoping that by late June they’ll be able to meet and present their product – face to face.
Their pitch can be viewed here.
Update: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Demo Day was held entirely online and can be viewed here.